Lugares con memoria is a participatory project that questions the audience’s ability to break the silence by establishing a metaphor on the transmission of traumatic memory. The installation is made up of 40 transparent collages, each of which represents one of the 91+ places used as torture and/or detention centres in Chile’s Valparaiso region during the last dictatorship (1973-1990). The highly graphic and synthetic images represent anonymous places, nothing more than mere echoes or spectres of the forgotten. Many of these places have changed ownership and purpose, becoming businesses, housing developments, or even shopping centres. Others are still there. Nonetheless, in most cases, their current occupants are almost always unaware of the place’s past, forgetting all of those who lost their freedom, rights and lives in that same spot where they are trying on new shoes, laying in bed, or making coffee.
This project tries to open up questions about how we remember, how much we are willing to remember, and how uncomfortable we are when we realise how many of these anonymous places are part of our daily lives. The work also poses the question of how far are we willing to expose ourselves –by interacting with strangers- in order to activate an artwork. On the other hand, it is an attempt to rescue a forgotten part of our history. Alluding to this silenced memory, the default state of the work is off. You go to the space and the room is dark. It is only through communication and collaboration with a fellow viewer that they can turn on the lights (by pedaling on a bike), allowing you to see the work. The same communal effort was placed into making the work. The project was financed through a crowdfunding campaign. It is only because of the will and effort of potential viewers that the work even exists. Bringing back silenced memory is a collective effort, a social effort, and so is this project.
The bilingual catalogue includes all the research and documentation as well as a list of mediation activities and collaborators. Click on the button to download a pdf copy.